Road trip to Damascus 'will fix' Trump, Assad and Putin joke on video
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad have been caught on video mocking Donald Trump, suggesting an invitation to Damascus would be accepted and would "fix him".
During a conversation between Assad and Putin at the Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Damascus, the Syrian president referenced the Biblical story of St Paul's "Damascene conversion" on the road into the city.
"If Trump also travelled on this road, it would fix him," Assad says, through a translator, to Putin.
"He will change for the better," responds Putin, laughing.
"Invite him, he will come."
Also laughing, Assad responds, "I'm ready."
Putin has been instrumental in helping Assad beat back the Syrian opposition following the 2011 uprising against his rule.
There were suggestions on Trump's 2016 election that the US president would be more lenient towards Damascus than his predecessor, in part because he appeared sympathetic towards Russia.
However, Trump has displayed an erratic attitude towards Assad's government and launched air strikes at a government air base in 2017 in the wake of the Khan Sheikhoun chemical weapon attack.
He has also taken a harsh stance against Assad's other close ally Iran.
The US and Iran have come close to the brink of war in recent weeks over the assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, a man who was also instrumental in shoring up the Syrian government's defences against rebel forces.
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.